Fire. The archetype of technology. Our ability to harness fire is nothing short of amazing—it changed the world. Fire gave us warmth, provided a light in the dark and enabled us to forge steel and develop other technology. Because of fire we have “brand” — a word derived from the root *bran or *bren, meaning to burn and also meaning an identifying mark made by hot iron.
The word isn’t as old as fire, but it’s practically just as important, even though it was only recently applied in commerce—“brand name” was first used in 1922.
Companies—both for- and non-profit alike—live and die based on their brand. But brands can become dull and boring.
If brand is a company’s sword, innovation is its whetstone.
Innovation keeps a brand sharp and relevant. Consider The Depaul Box Company, based out of the UK. The company is actually a charity, but it’s revolutionized its business model by selling cardboard boxes and using every penny made from the sale to help the homeless. The concept was developed by Publicis London and it was derived because Publicis managing director, Will Arnold-Baker, believed, “that charities in the future will need to create innovative funding streams that create a bridge to business.”
Consider also Coca-Cola, one of the strongest brands ever created. Coke’s brand power and an innovative delivery network helped spread the beverage to practically every corner of the planet. It’s been said that in some remote regions, it’s easier to get a Coke than it is to get a glass of clean drinking water. Because of its brand power and global reach, startups like AidPod have created ways to use Coke’s deliver system to deliver much needed medicine and resources to impoverished, fourth-world areas where fire is still the primary source of heat and light.
Brand strategy is nothing to take lightly. Harness it and hone it, and you can change the world.